December 12, 2014 - 10:38 AM
KAMLOOPS – Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi, and his company Northland Properties Corporation will have to pay $140,000 after each was convicted on two counts of harmful alteration of a fish habitat.
In Kamloops Provincial Court, Judge Stephen Harrison ordered Gaglardi and Northland Properties Corporation pay $5,000 per count, totalling $20,000 in court fines.
As part of a community service order, Gaglardi and the company will each have to pay $60,000 to the B.C. Conservation Foundation – a non-profit organization that applies donations to rebuilding animal habitats.
The case came before the courts after Gaglardi, in partnership with company employees, managed extensive renovations to a seven-lot vacation property near Savona in 2010. Excavation to the site included adding rip-rap and removing vegetation with a nearby orchard. A plan was in place to add two storeys and five bedrooms to the existing three-bedroom 1950's era bungalow on site.
All the renovations resulted in extensive damage to a nearby fish habitat in Kamloops Lake.
“No regional district building permits were applied for until after the damage was done to the fish habitat,” Harrison said.
Construction was halted by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans which opened an investigation. Before the case made it to court, Gaglardi said he paid $80,000 - $85,000 to remediate the damage.
“Despite the remediation undertaken by the defendants, this fish habitat will not be effectively restored for many years, if not decades to come,” Harrison said.
Gaglardi, who was not present for his prior sentencing hearing in October, addressed the court to apologize on Friday morning.
“I wanted to express my apologies for what transpired,” Gaglardi said. After his sentencing, he said it would take "about a month" for him and the company to come up with the money to pay the penalty.
When Harrison convicted Gaglardi in August, he said he did not accept the evidence put forward by both Gaglardi and Scott Harwood, a manager at Northland Properties Corporation. Both suggested the site manager, Jim Parks, made all the changes to the property without permission.
During trial, Harwood admitted he directed Parks to destroy evidence of a grading plan that linked him and the corporation to the property changes.
“The attempt to procure the destruction of evidence undercut the submission that Northland took responsibility, cooperated with Department of Fisheries and Oceans investigators or exhibited meaningful remorse,” Harrison said.
In favour to Gaglardi, Harrison agreed with defence counsel that the significant media coverage will deter him from committing a similar offense.
Prior to sentencing, Gaglardi’s lawyer, Rob Bruneau, called for a fine of $50,000 to $75,000 while Crown prosecutor Digby Kier called for the maximum $300,000 fine.
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— Story updated with details from sentencing at 12:02 p.m.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014